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Should we work with storage specialists or systems vendors?

For data storage needs, should my company work with specialists like EMC and HDS or systems vendors like IBM and Sun?
It probably depends on whose sales rep is talking. Storage specialists tend to focus their messaging on the ever-expanding volume and complexity of data storage and the need for the tender ministrations of people who work with it exclusively. Systems vendors, on the other hand, expound on central role storage plays in end-to-end IT infrastructures and the importance of elegantly integrated storage solutions. Both arguments are reasonable, but tend to sidestep a more critical issue; the need to ensure that storage fully supports both essential IT needs and business goals. Overall, the storage assessment process, including input from interested parties from IT staff to the CTO, is just as important, if not more so, than which vendor or kind of vendor an enterprise chooses to work with. In essence, being an intelligent storage consumer is more about intelligence than it is about consuming.

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